On this day in 1988: Smog levels reach all-time high in Ballyfermot

By Mary Dennehy

DO you remember the smog in Dublin in the eighties?

On this day in 1988, RTE visited Ballyfermot, which was one of the worst areas hit by air pollution in the capital.

facebook Linked Image feat Smog in Ballyfermot. Photo from RTE Archives

The onset of the cold November weather in 1988 saw Dublin’s smog levels reach an all-time high as peopled burned fuel to heat their homes.

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Smog levels reached an all-time high. Photo from RTE Archives

According to an RTE report from November 5th 1988, Ballyfermot was one of the worst hit communities, with smog levels in the area breaking limits set by the European Community on three consecutive days. 

According to the RTE reporter, Joe O’Brien, areas such as Ballyfermot, which have dense populations, were affected worse by air pollution.

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RTE reporter Joe O’Brien. Photo from RTE Archives

Mr O’Brien reported that the dense smog was due to "huge numbers of people lighting fires" with very little wind to move the smog along.

Due to high levels of smog, doctors advised people with heart and lung ailments to stay indoors if possible, and to cover their noses and mouths with scarves if they had to go out.

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People were advised to cover their noses and mouths with scarves if they had to go out. Photo from RTE Archives

People who were in good health were also advised to not engage in any strenuous activity. 

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People out shopping in Ballyfermot. Photo from RTE Archives

At the time of the report, the Government was expected to announce certain areas of the capital as “smoke-free zones”.

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Photo from RTE Archives

Watch the full RTE report on the RTE Archives website HERE.

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